Local emo rock quartet, Made with Monsters, have released a first taste of what we could expect from their upcoming EP, which would be released tentatively before the end of this year.
The band’s new single, Cherry, was released on Monday night after the band was formed almost two years ago. Formerly known as Neptune, the band originally featured a semi-acoustic sound and was formed with the main intention of participating in a school’s talent competition with cash prizes.
From L to R: Made with Monsters comprise of Nathan Ng (Bassist), Shawn Koh (Lead Guitarist), Jovan Lee (Vocalist, Rhythm Guitarist), and Aavan Lee (Drummer, Backing Vocals).
If anyone else had been as interested in the unique band name as I was, bassist Nathan Ng revealed that they did a ‘Red Jumpsuit Apparatus’: “We sat in the sports hall jamming and writing out random names on the Starbucks tissue paper. We were trying to come up with a name that sounded rock-ish and cool, but at the same time, not too hardcore. And since everybody in the band was kind of a freak in their own nature, monsters seemed appropriate.”
The cathartic track opens with lead vocalist Jovan Lee’s gritty vocals and a melodic riff at the beginning. The beat picks up during the chorus of the song, and was complemented well with the layers of backing vocals. Lead guitarist Shawn Koh’s guitar solo during the bridge of the track also added an extremely rhapsodic touch to the entire track.
On first listen, one would not think much of the lyrics of Cherry. It was not until I found out more from Jovan that it added more emotional sensibility to what I have just heard. The frontman shares: “The lyrics of the song are based off an experience that actually happened to me on a night out at the popular club Cherry (now rebranded as Peaches). I was dealing with depression at the time because of a breakup and had suicidal thoughts pop into my head every now and then.
The combination of alcohol and aggressive hip-hop music caused me to have a complete mental and emotional breakdown at the point. I left the club and started roaming around the area just feeling really bad. Mount Elizabeth Hospital was situated right beside Cherry and it happened to be the place I was born. I had thoughts of ending my life right there as it would have been quite ironic. I found myself lying in the middle of the road near Orchard where my friends found me and took me home. It was the lowest I had ever been emotional, so I put my emotions on paper and it became Cherry.”
Jovan’s story was explicitly written in the lines, “and I thought I found peace/ in the corners of mount Elizabeth/ thought I could fall forward/ send me spiralling down to the earth”. It took a few more spins to be able to relate to this track – to be at the end of one’s road, hoping for liberation “from the constant running”. It’s as if Jovan is allowing us to go on a mind trip during his depressive state of mind.
It is also remarkable that Cherry was entirely produced and mastered by the band: “I (Jovan) first wrote the chords and most of the structure of Cherry around September 2017. At that time, I already had the lyrics written, so I was mainly fitting vocal melodies into the music. Most of Cherry was actually recorded on the first day it was conceived, with only Shawn’s lead guitar parts added on later, as well as Aavan’s proper drums. Some of the vocals were re-recorded but most of it came down to mixing and making sure that we sounded good. It took about 2-3 weeks of remixing and remastering (between me and my brother Aavan) before we actually settled on a good sound. It was definitely tough trying to make us sound like a legit band that is worthy of Spotify etc, but big props to Aavan who actually did most of the final tweaks to make it the song it is now.”
Drawing influences from the likes of Dream Theatre, Nightwish, A Day to Remember, and even Thrice and My Chemical Romance, Made with Monsters promise to gravitate towards “heavier and darker sounds with more unclean vocals” for their upcoming EP. The band is also working on the concept for Cherry’s music video and are looking for more shows to share their music.
Check out the full-track of Cherry below on Spotify:
Preview video and photos courtesy of Regine Teo.